Sunday, June 19, 2005

Man has Successfully Mapped the Human Genome. Who Needs God?

The recent advances in genetic engineering has resulted in the Americans and the British calling their accomplishments "being able to decode the language of God." Experts believe that much of the research in this area is, since it is almost totally funded by private money, tied to the patenting of various sequences of the human genome (that's all the DNA contained in a human cell) believing they are likely to code for proteins which can be manufactured and sold at great profit.

Simply put scientists look for "defective or mutated genes" in an isolated community, override the mutation and produce block-buster drugs to fight it. Drug companies say the patenting of human or animal genes is necessary to do work on research leading to genetic therapies for disease. The philosophical question among the experts is whether life is seen as human invention or as God's creation.
Arguing for the latter position, some indicate the recent decoding as simply drawing back another part of the curtain of God's creation, or simply realizing that genes are not the bottom line explanation of human life -- that life really requires a 'spirit' spark to come together with genetic material, and only God can provide that spark. They say spirit interacts with matter just as matter interacts with energy.

Canon Eric Beresford, an Anglican geneticist and priest wants us all to know that "what has not been uncovered is some sort of genetic code that will allow science to predict and alter a human being's characteristics." The reason being that carrying a certain gene doesn't guarantee the presence of that trait. Each gene requires to be turned on or off, and that's done by 'switching genes' that control the trait genes. So inheritance itself becomes dependent on both the right gene and the right switching gene, and thus very complex. So regardless of what Bill Clinton said, the language of God is still out of his reach.

However, the plot thickens even more as we learn that there are actually theologians that argue that the Creator wants man to join Him in His role as Creator. We're told this stems from the notion that we are born in the image of God and therefore are like God. When you couple that with "theodicy", or the idea of justifying belief in the goodness of God in the face of evil and suffering (why does God allow it all?), you get a philosophy which gives man the go ahead to explore genetic manipulation and enhancement. In fact, there are three major philosophies in this regard:
1. The Augustinian one which says Adam and Eve falling from complete goodness and perfect images of God's Creation has impacted all their offspring. So, we are born in His image, but the image is impaired or defective, unlike how God intends it to be. So God isn't responsible for the evil and suffering, that's due to the fall. From this position, comes the notion that we can use technology to fix nature. [ The notion of this position denies that God allows evil and suffering and the curse of death as punishment for evil. - Ray Luff ]
2. The Iranean one that says Creation is incomplete because Adam and Eve fell and were tossed out of Eden while they were still developing and that development was stopped at that time. To find the true human identity you don't go backwards looking at what Adam and Eve were like, or could have been like, but rather you look ahead to Christ, the full image of God. This position then supports technological gene enhancement to improve on what Nature has given us. [ This view denies that God created man in His own image just as he created Christ in His own image. It relies on evolutionary steps to improve man. To hold this view you must also subscribe to the Gap Theory and Day Age Theories, which are theories which are compromised theories that seek to harmonize Gods word with mans theories of evolution. All these theories deny that God created the earth in 7 literal days, with the sun being created on the 4th day as stated in Genesis chapter one. - Ray Luff ]
3. Finally, the third (and unlabeled) [but most accurate and Biblically defensible] position says that God also suffers along with man, His own Creation. Thus you have Christ on the cross symbolizing God's efforts in restoring us. This is used as a basis, then, for an ethical, theological foundation for genetic engineering. Theologians that adhere to it are basically saying suffering can be addressed technologically but never removed finally, and that it would be a dangerous illusion to try. [ The danger of this illusion is the denial of God’s authority over man. Who are we to seek to correct something which God has purposed to be broken, for a purpose. God offers the only solution to man’s broken condition. He allows man’s physical broken condition to alert him to his broken spiritual condition, which God offers to solve. Ultimately God also offers to solve man’s broken physical condition, but only for those who are able to put their faith in God’s promise to resurrect of our bodies after death through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is referred to in the Bible as the first born from the dead. - Ray Luff ]

So, what's left for you and me. First you need to decide whether you're for it or against it. If you're for it, then you need to decide, on what basis. To help you, here are some questions you may ask yourself:
1. Is this all about justifying what's going on in Biomedical Science and Technology today?
2. Or is it simply a way of theologians who are also medical scientists to integrate their beliefs with their work?
3. Finally, could it be that while God allows us to surge ahead in this area, He will never let us get to the point where we've solved every problem ourselves and Eden is restored, maybe this time somewhere in North America? After all, if we can solve the human genome language, should we not have been able to solve world hunger, wars, hatred, natural disasters, airplane crashes, etc.? Aren't they a lot more simpler, scientific-ally speaking? I guess not. Then again, maybe that's it -- this is not about science, it's about the human heart, mind, and soul!
Thank God He's not finished with us. Pray God that we don't ever think we're finished with Him.

Ken B. Godevenos, MBA, CCP, CHRP Accord Resolution Services Inc.

So why does God allow suffering? God allows suffering as a symptom of a larger problem the Bible calls sin. Even if we could solve all problems of suffering, no scientist expects that they will solve the ultimate problem which is death. God has solved that ultimate problem and could solve the problems leading up to it if He wanted to. In fact He says He will solve our physical problems after we have passed through physical death and have been resurrected to new life after death. But not all will be resurrected to new life. Daniel 12 - 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Our suffering during this life is a friendly message from God warning us of worse to come if we don’t do something about it. 2 Cor 7 - 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance, leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. Repentance means, committing to allow God to change your life so that you will sin no more.
God offers us reconciliation to Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 5 - 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteous-ness of God in Him. 2 Cor 6 - 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Rom 6 - 23 For the wages of Sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Make it a matter of urgent prayer to appropriate this promise God has given. You won’t regret it.

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Copyright 2005 © Bible Door Tracts.

The author of his tract were added Ray Luff of Bible Door Tracts. The opinions contained in this tract do not necessarily represent the opinions of Riverdrive Park Bible Chapel where Ray is in fellowship. All Bible references are from The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson unless otherwise noted.

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